This morning I watched as my little boy got onto a yellow school bus. He’s been taking the bus since last week Monday when his extended school year (ESY) program started. Usually the bus comes after I’ve already left for work though, so it was my 1st time actually seeing him go.
Never mind that my friend told me that I’m crazy because I went to the school last week and spoke to the bus driver and got her name and personal cell phone number.
He can call me crazy all he wants. You never know when I may need to get in touch with her; she’s carrying very precious cargo.
Now while I may not be thrilled that my son needs an extra month of school because of his autism and the delays that come with it; and I may not be thrilled that he’s getting driven around by a stranger; there are benefits to this whole thing.
He gets to be somewhat independent and I learn to let go just a tiny bit. (If it were up to me I’d have cameras following him everywhere he went all day every day). The more he gets to spread his little wings the better he’ll be I think. Taking the bus is a new experience for him. He’s been fine with it since the 1st day which is more than I can say for myself. He just looks so grown up standing in front of the bus door with his book bag heading off into the world on his own. But he’s not grown up, he’s still a baby. (I know, I’m very dramatic). Getting sent off with strangers and not getting chaperoned from point A to point B by either CC or myself so that we can make SURE he’s ok and that everyone who is working with him understands him is a new experience for him (and us). Learning to navigate a new school and deal with a new teacher and make new “friends” and get himself settled and used to a new routine … all valuable experiences for him.
Then there’s my Ace. He spends a lot of time being Jay’s older brother. He still gets frustrated at times, but he’s learned how to handle Jay’s miserable moments really well. He has a calmness that CC and I don’t always have. He talks to him and listens to him and understands him and teaches him things. He sits in waiting rooms while Jay gets therapy and goes to doctors visits. He protects and he encourages and he makes concessions. So much of who he is, is tied up in what Jay needs or wants.
I love that while Jay is at school, Ace gets a break from big-brotherdom. He gets to play whatever he wants with his own friends. He gets to watch whatever he wants on TV. Instead of being at work or running errands or doing housework, I took him to the pool last week Friday and it was great. Just me and my boy. He really LOVES the water and has actually begun teaching himself to swim. (I signed him up to start formal swimming lessons later this month.) He spent some time playing with a friend from his school that was there. We moved from one area to the other on his whim and we ate hot dogs and took pictures and relaxed. He didn’t have to stop and consider anyone else that day. He was free to have fun his own way.
If Jay had been home I would’ve brought both boys to the pool that day. I always feel badly about leaving one behind while the other gets to go out. But I think Ace deserves some undivided attention and quality time with Mom and Dad and without little brother.
Ace doesn’t know this yet, but I’ll take just him to the pool again one day next week so he can have another “Mummy to himself day”. Jay’s ESY only lasts for one month.